Ilianne: miniature food jewelry made of love

I cannot say enough good things about the sweet jewelry creations from Ilianne Jewelry! Ilianne makes these tiny food (and book) sculptures. Ilianna is fascinated by all things miniature, and so she started creating these tiny pies, cupcakes, macaroons, cookies, tea and coffee cups, doughnuts, and even pizzas, bread baskets, and pita gyros that all look so good, you might want to eat them… They are even scented!

Ilianna is so enthusiastic about what she does, and it really shows. I asked her why she decided to start her business, and she told me, “Because I wanted to break away.. I wanted a way to escape from computers. That’s how everything started! Everyday, all day… you could find me in front of a huge computer screen, editing photos…working on digital prints and albums for someone.
Since the day I discovered that being creative isn’t just between the borders of a cold screen! Since the day I discovered polymer clay, jump rings, scissors, glue and chains! That’s the day I started living again!Opening my Etsy shop and soon my own e-shop website gave me the opportunity to connect with the world, connect with you, who I claim friends… exchange ideas with so many talented crafters, feel a member of a vibrant community which never ceases to amaze me! I found my own way to share anything I make with my hands with all of you and a way to become better on what I’m doing! From the tiniest ring to the CHUNKIEST pendant, I do the best I can to please all of my customers and put a smile on their face on the day they are gonna open that package. The fact that everything I make can travel all around the world and make someone smile is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had in my life!!”

Did I mention she is enthusiastic? 😉 Seriously, though… this is what I am talking about when I suggest people start a business doing something they love. This gets to be your mindset… You’re not just making a living, but living a happy, fulfilled life. Like Ilianna says, ” I can wake up every morning with a huge smile on my face thinking that I am going to ship one of my precious handmade pieces to somewhere out there in the world.” And, “Every time you click a button and purchase a piece of jewelry that I made, a huge instant smile appears on my face. Because you chose it among many others and you thought it was unique and special. This means the whole world to me.”

Here are just a few of her foodie creations:

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Doughnut earrings by Ilianna Jewelry

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Miniature coffee and doughnuts ring by Ilianna Jewelry

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Chocolate chip cookies by Ilianna Jewelry

Oh! And I almost forgot to mention, Ilianne also makes book inspired miniatures, as well! Like this one inspired by The Fault in Our Stars (one of my favorite books of all time!)

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Okay? Okay. – The Fault in Our Stars inspired necklace by Ilianna Jewelry

You can also find Ilianna Jewelry on Instagram and Facebook.

ThatWeDo: handmade, one-of-a-kind, polymer-clay jewellery

ThatWeDo was conceived at a baby shower, with necklaces given as a thank you gift from one sister to another. After that, they found people constantly commented on the original creations when worn. Eventually enough people asked where they could buy their own that they decided to begin making them for others and ThatWeDo was born.

Kat and her sisters “are inspired to create original pieces that you won’t see others wearing. Pieces that you can throw on with a plain t-shirt to add a pop of interest or team with a well-thought-out outfit to create a finishing touch. We believe it’s the tiny details that make something special. Our jewellery is designed to help people express their personal style.”

Each piece they make is one of a kind, with time invested and attention to detail. “We were tagged in a pic of someone wearing one of our necklaces in Brussels the other day. It was such a wonderful thing to see, one of our Sydney-made designs getting out into the wide world. It also reminded us just how international the handmade design community has become. And that there is something so lovely about the fact that we’re all so closely connected, even across oceans.” Lovely, indeed!

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Handmade Originals Polymer Clay Necklace – Cocoon from ThatWeDo

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Kids make your own necklace kit from ThatWeDo

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Handmade Polymer Clay Gum Leaf Necklace – Forest Filly from ThatWeDo


You can also fin ThatWeDo on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Xanne Fran Studios: sterling silver handcrafted jewelry

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Roxanne Becofsky, the maker behind Xanne Fran Studios, is a classically trained sculptor turned jewelry maker working in sterling silver. Her story is as unique as her designs; “As a third generation craftsman, my grandfather and father both talented woodworkers, I grew up admiring the flexible lifestyle they both managed to attain through hard work and dedication to their craft. Able to be home raising their families and doing what they love, I thought, “that’s the life for me!” Through schooling and a few bizarre job opportunities, (being an apprentice for an eccentric sculptor in the boonies of upstate New York, creating high tech dummies for combat surgeon training in the military, and the list goes on…) I learned a unique set of skills that gave me the confidence and expertise to try my hand as a creative small business owner. I figured, I’d never know unless I tried!”

And try, she did! Of course, we talked about the perks of working for yourself; “The best thing about working for myself, hands down, is having the freedom to create whatever funky idea that pops into my head. I don’t have to ask anyone their opinion; and if it’s a flop, I’ll melt it down and make something else! Its a creative persons dream to have all the tools and resources needed to make whatever you can think of at the drop of a dime. I also have to say, not waking up to an alarm clock every morning is a very, very close second. I make all kinds of custom orders in sterling silver- the weirder the better! I sculpt everything by hand and take great pride in being able to offer custom designs to people with very specific requests. I love getting the reactions from my clients when I bring to life something they’ve been envisioning.”

While she makes things by hand herself, she also sees the value in buying handmade from others; “My house is full of handmade goods! I love to buy local pottery to hold odds and ends around the house but I think my blanket collection tops even the pottery.  Most every throw blanket in the place is a hand stitched quilt or knitted blanket, which I love. I have always greatly admired anyone who can knit because there really is nothing cozier than a handmade blanket… and I also couldn’t knit if my life depended on it. As a young person living in a hugely technology based world, it seems to me that so many of us overlook the simple, beautiful things in life. Creating and purchasing handmade goods keeps the appreciation for creativity alive.  Craftspeople have always had an important role in society and I think now more than ever, artists need to support one another and continue to create skillfully crafted items so that our society can continue to value creativity and talent.”

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Worry stone necklace from Xanne Fran Studios.


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Sterling Silver Bar Ring from Xanne Fran Studios.


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Mermaid Tail Necklace from Xanne Fran Studios.




You can also find Xanne Fran Studios on Instagram and Facebook.

Stellar Designs Jewelry: because everyone deserves a stellar piece of jewelry

Like many small business, Stellar Designs jewelry started off as a hobby, simply two girls, actually sisters, making jewelry for themselves.  And just a like a small business fairy tale, making jewelry for ourselves turned itself miraculously into a successful and thriving small business! Cheryl (one of the sisters behind Stellar Designs jewelry) told me, “My sister and I wanted to make a unique piece of jewelry, our first aluminum wire necklace!  Once we started wearing them, our friends and family wanted some too…then it just snowballed from there!  We say that our business just like a little fairy tale!” I love stories like that.

One of Cheryl’s most cherished items growing up was a hand knitted afghan from her grandmother (who actually made one for each of her 22 grandchildren!), and she believes things made by hand are special because it “gives that extra care and love into each piece. Handmade pieces have a special “energy” that commercially pieces just don’t have!”

Luckily these two sisters love spending time together, “We get to create pieces together, and also attend trade shows together, too!  Trade shows are by far our favorite time together…We get to meet and be inspired by all of our fabulous customers, and it’s an opportunity for us to dress the same and be goofy sisters, too!”

Their love and enthusiasm really shows: from their energy to their web site, and especially in the pieces they create. Take a look:

Chevron necklace from Stellar Designs Jewelry on

Chevron necklace from Stellar Designs Jewelry

Long rectangle earrings from Stellar Designs Jewelry on

Long rectangle earrings from Stellar Designs Jewelry

Stacking custom name rings from Stellar Designs Jewelry on

Stacking custom name rings from Stellar Designs Jewelry


You can also find Stellar Designs on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

JeannieRichard: beaded and chainmaille jewelry

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Husband and wife team Jeannie and Richard from JeannieRichard know a thing or two about being in business – they’ve had a design SOHO since 2002. But it was a “yearning of returning to create with our hands” that lead them to start making beaded and chainmaille jewelry as a creative outlet. And creativity is important to the duo, “Answering to no one but to ourselves is definitely a big plus point for any creative. Especially when we are designing jewelry in our style for a wide audience and not to a specific client. This allows us to be free with our creative processes.”

They both had a lover of handmade, early on, “Growing up as a child to teenager hood, all my clothes were designed and sewn by my mother who studied fashion and was the envy of all my friends as I always wore OOAK of styles. I appreciated this very much and understood the effort and pride in every piece being created with much care and love. And for Richard, his first handmade item was a handcrafted classical guitar as he majored in music as a classical guitarist… nothing beats a handcrafted musical instrument, the imperfect beauty and sweet tones that were intended by the maker makes every guitar unique, no two are the same.”

Jeannie, answering these questions with a toddler afoot, added, “An item that is made by hand and with love imbues into the item a soul, that gives the item so much character, and sometimes even personality than those that are factory manufactured. And most importantly, supporting handmade items means supporting the makers – when you buy from us, know that you are not helping some CEO buy a new vacation home, or luxury vehicle.” I couldn’t agree more! Buying handmade means making a real difference in the lives of the makers. Plus, their jewelry is just so very pretty!

JeannieRichard beaded and  chainmaille jewelry on

JeannieRichard beaded and chainmaille jewelry on

JeannieRichard beaded and  chainmaille jewelry on

JeannieRichard beaded and chainmaille jewelry on

JeannieRichard beaded and  chainmaille jewelry on

JeannieRichard beaded and chainmaille jewelry on


You can also find JeannieRichard on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

With Good Intention: yoga jewelry with purpose

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Kathleen Sweeney is the owner and designer of With Good Intention where she creates inspirational and yoga inspired handmade jewelry that is designed to carry with it both intention and meaning. 
 Her pieces are created with a variety of natural gemstones and vibrantly colored silk thread to create unique pieces that serve as beautiful reminders of the intentions we carry within us.

When I asked Kathleen what her favorite thing about being in business for yourself is, she replied, “My favorite thing about owning my own business is the sense of satisfaction I feel when I know my customers are happy. I love interacting with people while learning about their unique stories. I find it very inspiring. I also feel as though I have the freedom to create and thrive in an environment that brings me peace and a sense of independence.”

And why I asked her why she feels making hey yoga jewelry by hand is important, she told me, “In my opinion handmade items are invaluable. They showcase an artistry and craftsmanship that you just do not receive with mass produced objects. The individual who makes something handmade invests time, effort and lots of heart into his or her creations. I find it extremely inspiring that one can imagine something into existence by taking an idea and forging something beautiful out of it.”

Take a look at some of her beautiful yoga jewelry creations here…

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Grey Feldspar and Rose Quartz beaded Mala with Pink Silk Tassel from With Good Intention

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Hamsa Bracelets from With Good Intention

With Good Intention, handmade jewelry on

Black Obsidian, Fucshia Magnesite, and Grey Feldspar Necklace from With Good Intention


You can also find With Good Intention on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Sierra Metal Design: Personalized gifts for men, women, and kids

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At Sierra Metal Design, you can find all kinds of metal gifts (like jewelry, key chains, guitar picks, fishing lures, and golf ball markers) that can be personalized for you and or the recipient.

When I asked Alicia, the owner and designer behind Sierra Metal Design, about why she started her business, she told me that her sister actually had an Etsy store in 2007/08 and she saw that she was able to provide a living for herself while staying home with her 1 year old.  “I was managing a restaurant at the time and knew that I couldn’t/didn’t want to do that forever.  So I decided to start an Etsy store on the side and within a year my husband and I had a little baby girl and I was able to stay home with her almost full time due to my Etsy store.”

Her favorite thing about working for herself? The flexibility. “I have a 4 year old girl and 2 year old boy and another little boy due in May, and it is so wonderful how my business works around being a mom.  There are times that are harder than others, but I am soooo thankful for being able to not have a strict 9-5 schedule.”

And why is making things by hand so important to her? “It makes things so unique and personal.  We are able to put a message on a piece of plain metal and make it completely one of a kind.  Most likely no one else in the world will ever order that exact wording or numbers again and that just makes it so special.”

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Personalized fishing lure from Sierra Metal Design

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Bestie necklace from Sierra Metal Design

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Mother and Daughter necklaces from Sierra Metal Design


You can also find Sierra Metal Design on InstagramEtsy, Facebook, and Pinterest.